I met him on the bus to the mall the second weekend of college. He sat next to me and we connected instantly. It was that movie-like fantasy every girl dreams of. For the entirety of the next week, we were inseparable. He walked me to class, he held my hand, he kissed me, he called me beautiful.
But he told me he didn't want a relationship.
I was okay with it. It was risky, rebellious, spontaneous, pure fun. It was different than anything I'd ever done. We spent a harmless night together. He waited until I fell asleep, and only then did he stay up to finish his math homework.
For a week, it was perfect.
He changed his mind, he wanted a relationship. I was okay with it. I wanted it, too.
He came over Friday night and told me he felt like we rushed it. I told him I agreed, and we decided to slow things down, go on a few dates before we took any other steps forward. He got quiet, uttered, "I can't, I can't, I can't," and left me in tears.
We met the next day to talk and he promised to take me to a movie in two weekends, when we'd both be on campus. We spent the whole next day together; he tried to integrate me into his group of friends, and shouted to everybody who passed by, "Isn't she beautiful?" Things resumed as usual.
We took a nap together before our evening classes, but when he woke up, he looked at me and said, "I still don't want a relationship, you know."
I asked him if the movie was off the table; he said it was.
He wanted to be single. He wanted "friends with benefits." He wanted to be able to "go out and "have fun" with other girls" if he wanted to. I told him I didn't roll that way.
He said okay. It was over. I was crushed.
My friends gathered in our lounge that night, taking turns giving me pep-talks and hugging me through tearful episodes. It didn't last too long, and it didn't take any time at all for me to realize I'm worth more than him. I deserve someone who wants me and me alone. I deserve somebody who likes my quirks and the fact that I care too much. I'm better than that, and I'm not going to settle anymore.